A gradual increase in the average earth temperature as a result of an increase in greenhouse gas (carbon dioxide and methane) levels is a phenomenon referred to as global warming. The term global warming has been coined mostly by the press in arguments that have ended in some even claiming it’s a hoax. Scientifically collected data and facts have proved that global warming is a realistic phenomenon that has led to significant changes in the earth’s temperature rising from (0.4 – 0.8) degrees Celsius (Huntingford, 2013). Carbon dioxide can exist in the atmosphere for many centuries hence its heat trapping effects have been accumulated over an extended period. Most of the effects of global warming are irreversible, and this is an implication that a number of greenhouse gasses we put into the atmosphere as a result of human activities will affect us and future generations as well (Carlson, 2012).
Scientific evidence indicates that gradual increase in global average temperature poses devastating risks to both the human health and natural ecosystem. Human activities are the biggest contributor to global warming which means that we can do something to regulate it. Delayed actions will make it costly to reduce greenhouse gasses and being subjected to changing climate consequences occurring in the meantime (Herman, 2014). Global warming has potential to increase droughts and severe storms, change of rainfall and snow patterns, increased sea levels, reduced lake ice cover and change in animal and plant behaviors as they try to adapt to the new changes.
Natural and anthropogenic climate changes
Both the natural and anthropogenic climate changes cause temperature change. The significant difference between the natural and anthropogenic climate change is that the natural climate changes have been occurring for an extended period probably millions of years with orbital variations of the sun being the primary cause of global warming. This increased levels of temperature trigger release of methane and carbon dioxide which are responsible for orbital warming.
On the other hand, an anthropogenic climate change is a greater production of greenhouse gasses due to human activities i.e. use of hydrocarbon fuels and burning of fossil fuels emitting pollutants to the ozone layer and overloading the atmosphere with carbon dioxide. If the ozone layer becomes affected by the high levels of greenhouse gasses in the air, then we cannot be able to reduce the impact of direct ultraviolet rays to the world (Herman, 2014). The effects of human activities have resulted in faster rates of global warming when compared to the negligible impact of natural causes climate change. Even as studies show that over 100 million people are living 3 feet above the sea level they don’t see the need for adopting new ways to suppress the high levels of greenhouse gasses.
Global warming evidence
A collection of different types of information over many years about the earth’s condition has provided scientists with an insight into global scale effects of global warming. The evidence of climate change is compelling. Studies on the ice cores drawn from Antarctica and Greenland have shown that an increase in greenhouse levels has adverse effects on the earth’s climate. In the last century, the sea level has seen an increase of 17 centimeters whereas the last decade saw a double of that increase in sea levels (Rosen, 2009).
The ocean and other large water bodies have been among the biggest absorbers of the increased temperatures resulting from global warming. An increase of 0.302 degrees has been experienced in the top 700 meters since the 1960s. The shrinking of Antarctica ice sheet is another example that can be used to confirm global warming existence. NASA’s gravity recovery and climate experiments have indicated reduced mass in the ice sheets with a recorded loss of 152 cubic kilometers of ice between 2002 and 2010. The decline in Arctic sea ice thickness is as a result of an increased temperature that causes the melting and subsequent increase in sea levels. Since the beginning of industrial revolution has seen an increase in acidity of the surface of the ocean by 30%. The increase of carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere has led to subsequently increased absorption rates into the ocean with an estimated increase of about 2 billion tons per year.
Mitigation of global warming
Use of clean coal technology is a combination of technologies that involve chemically washing impurities and minerals from coal. Use of coal as a fuel source has gaseous emissions that are responsible for acid rain, and other health complications including lung cancer hence need for purification of the coal. Gasification further helps in removal of pollutants from the gaseous emissions with advanced technologies that have enabled capturing and storage of carbon dioxide to improve calorific levels and maximizing efficiency of electric conversions. Environmental agencies have supported the integration of this technology to reduce emission per unit energy produced and hence reduction of global warming (Herman, 2014).
Another process that aims at mitigating global warming is carbon sequestration which is a process that is involved in long-term storage of atmospheric carbon dioxide. This has been a new proposed way of slowing both the marine and atmospheric accumulation of carbon dioxide that is as a result of burning fossil fuels. Carbon sequestration is a new geo-engineering form that ensures removal and reservoir storage of carbon dioxide. A combination of chemical physical and biological processes are being used when providing capturing of carbon dioxide either through natural processes or petroleum refining, a process that uses artificial methods to capture carbon dioxide as a byproduct.
Carbon taxing has been the latest approach that has been adopted by different governments that involve imposing a tax on all carbon content fuels. The proposal aims at making carbon fuel products expensive hence discouraging their use (Rosen, 2009). At the same time carbon taxing is another strategy that makes carbon content owners pay for the damages resulting from their products. In this way, carbon taxing offers both social and economic benefits by significantly promoting climate change policies. The objective of carbon taxing is not to make the carbon industry extinct but to provide a cost-effective way of reducing the harmful carbon dioxide emissions and its adverse effects on the environment.
The common belief of people that there is technically nothing they can do about global warming is affecting efforts to reduce greenhouse gasses. We should adopt new methodologies that are the environmentally friendly i.e. use of non-carbon renewable energy sources instead of fossil-based fuels. Government involvement in the reduction of atmospheric pollutions with carbons should employ new policies that can reduce deforestation, initiate international climate negotiations from the industrialized countries, advocate for clean energy economies, and provision for support for climate change policies. Global warming has potential to increase droughts and severe storms, change of rainfall and snow patterns, increased sea levels, reduced lake ice cover and change in animal and plant behaviors as they try to adapt to the new changes. Fighting misinformation about global warming as the human activities are the biggest contribution factor of global warming hence the need for educating the people by the introduction of global warming into school curriculum so that tomorrow’s generations are guaranteed better environment.
- Carlson, A. (2012). Heat Waves, Global Warming & Mitigation. Issues In Legal Scholarship, 6(3).
- HERMAN, B. (2014). The Influence of Global Warming Science Views and Sociocultural Factors on Willingness to Mitigate Global Warming. Science Education, 99(1), 1-38.
- Huntingford, C. (2013). Climate projection: Refining global warming projections. Nature Climate Change, 3(8), 704-705.
- Rosen, M. (2009). Combating global warming via non-fossil fuel energy options. International Journal Of Global Warming, 1(1/2/3), 2.